S92 Examining the Sahara Low's role in North Atlantic dust emission and major Atlantic hurricane variability

Sunday, 6 January 2013
Exhibit Hall 3 (Austin Convention Center)
Alexandra St. Pé, JCET/Univ. of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD; and J. Halverson

As the proliferation of greenhouse gas continues, questions regarding the climate's response at global and regional levels become pertinent. Across the semi-arid African Sahel, concern of reoccurring drought from regional precipitation response to climate variation is widely discussed in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Recent climate model divergence on future dry verses wet Sahel rainfall scenarios has motivated research on the mechanisms driving Sahel rainfall variability. The summertime thermal continental low, the Sahara Low, has been identified as a plausible phenomenon driving Sahel rainfall variability. Interestingly, hurricane research suggests the implications of Sahel rainfall regimes extend beyond West Africa's borders, impacting the frequency of major Atlantic basin hurricane development. Given the co-variability of Sahel rainfall and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) cycle, their inverse relationship to dust over the tropical North Atlantic and relationship to major hurricane development over the Atlantic basin, this work first seeks to enhance understanding of the Sahara Low's impact on regional circulation and North Atlantic dust outbreaks. Employing an exploratory approach, the second goal of this research is to elucidate the interrelationships between North Africa synoptic scale meteorological features, North Africa dust outbreaks, and dynamic tropical environments over an Atlantic hurricane's main development region (MDR).
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